Military mindset helps security specialist on, off the job

By by Army Sgt. Saul Rosa

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A decade of experience in one field can influence the way a person perceives the world. However, two decades can shape the way one lives. This is particularly true for Eugene Marchand. After serving 28 years in the Army, it has shaped his way of life.

“I grew up in the Army,” said Marchand, who enlisted in the Army with the military police when he was 19 and stayed in that military occupational specialty for his whole career. “The Army shaped the way I lived and the way I thought. My most formative years were spent in the military.”

Marchand is now a physical security specialist with Defense Logistics Agency Installation Support at Richmond, Virginia, and relies on his military experiences to manage access control points on DSCR as well as the installation’s welcome center.

“I handled [access control] in the Army in one form or another for 20 years,” said Marchand. He explained DLA policy is very similar to the Army’s access control policy and his experience as an MP helped him transition to his current position.

“I started reading through our access control plan and I saw it needed some fine tuning, so I took that one [plan on] as a project,” said Marchand. “We had to fall in line with the Real I.D. Act of 2005, so we needed to comply with the rules for what is considered acceptable identification.” 

“Your ID card is tied to your benefits,” said Marchand.  He explained that there are security measures in place to safeguard those benefits and ensure they are not gained fraudulently, although no accounts of fraud have occurred at DSCR.

“If one of our operators abused their power and issued false cards, the implications would be severe and there is a chance that all cards that the individual printed out would be revoked,” said Marchand.

He explained employees at the welcome center are operators and can only reproduce ID cards and not input new information into the system.

“People say that getting on to DSCR is like trying to get on Fort Knox,” said Marchand. “But, you can’t get on to Fort Knox and you can get on to DSCR, if you follow our procedures.”  

In order to access DSCR visitors must complete a Background Check Request Form. This form provides all the information needed to help a security specialist process a clearance.

“Sponsoring a guest on to the installation is easy,” said Marchand. “The first requirement is they have to have a valid reason for accessing the installation.  Once need to access is determined, a government sponsor will submit a request to a security specialist.  As long as there is no reason to disapprove access, they will be approved for access.”

Employees and visitors with a valid Department of Defense identification may enter through the East Gate. However, new visitors with a need to get on to the installation can receive a temporary visitor identification card and vehicle pass at the welcome center. Drivers must present a valid driver’s license, current vehicle registration form and proof of insurance and non-drivers must present a valid photo identification card.

It takes three to five business days to properly process a clearance or background check. Marchand explained that the timeframe ensures proper background checks can be conducted. If someone drops off a form Friday, they should expect an answer anytime between the following Wednesday through Friday. Employees who are sponsoring visitors need to ensure that they complete the proper paperwork early or they may not have the clearance for their visitor to enter the installation.

While DLA offers some continuity of the military lifestyle and structure that Marchand had grown accustomed to from serving, that structure was limited to the time he spent on the installation. Fortunately, he discovered a hobby outside of work that helped him maintain his military mindset: online gaming.

After Marchand’s last military deployment to Iraq, he found online gaming included the military way of thinking of a senior non-commissioned officer, the comradery that comes from community and the structure of the military lifestyle. There are also many veterans in the online gaming community. 

“It’s a great way to connect to other veterans who can relate to you and your life experiences,” said Marchand.

“I was on my 30 days of leave after my deployment and I needed something to occupy my mind.”  Marchand discovered a game that caught his attention and could keep his attention: a massive multiplayer online fantasy adventure game that included in-depth character development.

“I love the military,” said Marchand. “If I could have stayed in I would have, but there comes a time where you have to retire … I miss the structure and comradery.”

He explained that working for a government organization provides similar structure and some comradery, but when you go home, it doesn’t go home with you like in the military since you live on or near the installation and you deploy with your team.

“To me, the way I look at the game, it’s a military mindset,” said Marchand. “There are objectives and you have to get those objectives done. There are going to be 10 to 20 players online working together. I look at that as ‘this is the team, this is the objective and this is what we have to do’.”

Marchand described how the different avatars you can create are similar to how the military has specialized units for different roles.

“You can have up to 50 different characters,” said Marchand. “By playing and learning their roles you can have a better understanding of the battlefield as a whole. You may not know how to play that role perfectly but you have the concept.”

Marchand explained that he carries that mentality over to the welcome center by understanding how all of the different jobs at the center work together and working with his team to do their best.

In addition to playing with fellow veterans, Marchand also uses it as a way to bond with his wife.

“It’s great to have a hobby that you can both enjoy together,” said Marchand. “We are a team in and outside of the game.”

Decades of growth in one organization can influence the way a person lives. For Marchand, running the welcome center and online gaming is a way to continue the way of life that he learned from serving in the military.

“They are both structured with clear objectives and a strong team that works together to meet those objectives,” said Marchand.